Liverpool drew 1-1 away to West Ham United on Monday night to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table to three points.
All sounds good, right?
Well, not too long ago Jurgen Klopp’s side were seven points clear of Manchester City, who will now go above Liverpool if they beat Everton on Wednesday.
Whether the pressure is getting to the Merseyside club, only they will know.
But two 1-1 draws in succession – against Leicester and the Hammers – means they have dropped four points and, despite City’s loss away to Newcastle, allowed both the reigning champions and Tottenham to dream again.
It may be too soon to try and read too much into it, but is Liverpool’s title challenge falling apart before our very eyes?
Here are some stats that will fill Liverpool fans with dread and both City and Spurs with hope.
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Failure to pass
Liverpool are one of the most recognisable teams to utilise a steady, passing structure that allows them to build up attacks from the front to the back.
Their patience has allowed them to sniff out the perfect opportunity to play the right ball and ultimately put the ball in the back of the net.
However, despite their brilliant passing ability, they are also guilty of allowing possession to slip away from them far too regularly, with the club ranked sixth worst for most passes failed in the Premier League this season, having failed to pass on a massive 2430 occasions.
Of course, this correlates with the fact that they have the majority of possession in the majority of matches, but it still signifies that Klopp’s side can be wasteful.
City (1972), Chelsea (2090), Manchester United (2226) and Arsenal (2269) are the four sides who fail with passes the least, with Spurs (2335) also sitting high above Liverpool in that regard.
Linking on from the above evidence, Liverpool’s knack for wanting to keep control and dictate the state of play throughout the 90 minutes lends them to fall foul of gifting possession to the opposition.
Only Huddersfield Town (4003), Everton (3997), Leicester (3955) and Watford (3880) have gifted possession to the opposition more than Liverpool (3807).
City (3329), Chelsea (3424), Arsenal (3462) and Manchester United (3541) have been far better at keeping the ball within their own grasp, which will not make for good reading to those of a red Merseyside persuasion.
Goals at the other end
The start of the campaign saw Klopp’s men hailed as a side who are not only tough to beat but also tough to score against.
Before the turn of the year, the Reds had kept an incredible 12 clean sheets with Alisson and his defence working superbly well to keep the goals at bay.
They only conceded eight goals before 2019 hit.
However, since the turn of the year, they have already conceded seven goals – including three at home to Crystal Palace last month – and have kept just the one clean sheet, away to Brighton.
Whether it’s tired legs, teams working out how to break them down or simply luck, Liverpool are struggling to keep the ball out the back of their own net, which doesn’t exactly scream title winners.
Results against ‘non-top-six sides’
As said previously, Liverpool’s season up until the new year was simply scintillating, with their performances and – most importantly – their results signifying that this could finally be the year that they get their hands on the Premier League trophy.
Before 2019, Liverpool didn’t lose a single game in the Premier League.
They also didn’t drop any points against teams considered to be outside the ‘big-six’, only drawing with City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Nowadays, their record isn’t as pristine.
Since 2019 came to town, they have lost to City and dropped points against both Leicester and West Ham and bowed out the FA Cup to Wolverhampton Wanderers (not Premier League-related but still evidence of their dip in form).
What if Salah gets injured?
Last season’s Champions League final saw how important the Egyptian wizard is to the way Liverpool play.
The former Chelsea forward has continued on from last season and currently sits top of the scoring charts with 16 goals; a massive 28% of Liverpool’s goal total this season.
But what if Salah were to fall victim to injury within the near future?
Like Spurs and Harry Kane, Liverpool’s goal threat tends to be largely concentrated through Salah, whereas if City lost Sergio Aguero – who sits on 14 goals, just 21% of City’s goals this Premier League campaign – they still have the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus. The trio have scored 38 goals in all competitions this season and would be well equipped to carry the burden.
Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Xherdan Shaqiri have only 28 goals between them in all competitions. An over-reliance on Salah could become a problem at the business end of the campaign.
Get it on target!
With the likes of Salah, Firmino and Mane occupying Liverpool’s attacking positions, the likelihood that they will at the very least get their shots on target is pretty high.
Indeed, they are third in the stats for the number of shots on target (155) this term. However, who are the two sides above them in the pecking order?
Well, City have achieved a massive 170 shots on target, meaning that they are more likely to find the back of the net than their title rivals.
Meanwhile, Manchester United – Liverpool’s next away opponents – have the second highest (164), with Spurs just off the pace with 132 attempts on target.
Camped in the opposition’s box
The majority of Liverpool’s play is spent in the opponent’s half, with the Merseyside club managing to dominate matches with the ball at their feet throughout the campaign.
Because of this, the Reds have had a massive 797 touches in their opponent’s penalty area.
This is the second highest in the Premier League this season.
Who is highest? Why of course it’s City who have amassed a staggering 1029 touches in the opponent’s penalty area this season, once again showing signs that they are primed to capitalise on Liverpool’s blip.
Of course, the only stat that really matters is which team can score the most goals most often to secure the most points.
Once again, Liverpool find themselves second on the total scored to the blue half of Manchester.
The Reds have scored 56 Premier League goals which is 10 less than City and just five more than Spurs (51) who will see Harry Kane return to action within the month.
The title is far from over but Liverpool now have the opportunity to really show the world what they are made of, one way or the other.